Susan Sontag

United States writer (born in 1933)

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A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.
AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences suicide. Or murder.
AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.
AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.
For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.
I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.
In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.
Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.
It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph -- only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.
Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life -- its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness -- conjoin to dull our sensory faculties.
Sanity is a cozy lie.
The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own.
The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.
The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects -- making it possible to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.
Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.
We live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters.
What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death.

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